The fourth day of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network Summer School programme continued with lectures on undercover operations and research, as well as tips for following paper trails in stories.
Former FBI undercover operative Stephen Salmieri told the journalists participating in the Summer School that undercover investigative work is extremely dangerous, which is why it should be used as sparingly and requires a lot of preparation.
In order to minimise security risks, Salmieri said that journalists working undercover should not change their personality. He also said that journalists should know their targets and research their sources, as well as keep in constant contact with their parent organisation.
"When doing investigations, know everything you can know your enemy. Let go of your ego and reduce tensions. If you come across as aggressive, the situation will quickly escalate," said Salmieri.
A perfect undercover agent, according to Salmieri, is a smart and aware person who listens carefully.
Two times Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Nalder gave the participants of the Summer School tips on how to gather material evidence and documents from companies and organisations. He emphasised the importance of physically going to organisations, carefully interviewing workers and using psychological tricks to control the communication with them.
Nalder also said that after gathering documents, journalists should organise them carefully.
“Always be organised. Use Excel or other spreadsheets to organise your documents, otherwise you might get lost in them,” said Nalder.
British journalist David Leigh also discussed the need to collect documents, but also highlighted that while writing the story, journalists should make sure to provide readers with several points of access.
“Provide photos, interviews, galleries and short clips. Presentation is key. Your story is useless if it does not reach the public,” said Leigh.
The BIRN Summer School is taking place this week in Slovenia with 30 journalists from Serbia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Bulgaria, Austria, Estonia, France and Romania participating. It will finish on Friday.
The BIRN Summer School of Investigative Reporting 2013 is organised in cooperation with the Media Program South East Europe of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and with the support of the King Baudouin Foundation, the Belgian National Lottery, the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, the OSCE Mission to Serbia and USAID in Macedonia.
The 10 reporters selected for this year’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence refined their story plans and honed their professional skills at a seminar in Vienna last week.
On April 1st the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Albania (BIRN Albania) launched a three year programme, which aims to expose corruption and impunity, through investigative reporting and closer cooperation between journalists and civil society organizations.
The 10 reporters chosen for this year’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence will meet in Vienna from April 15 to April 19 to plan their research projects.
The Balkan Institute for Conflict Resolution, Responsibility and Reconciliation of the Sarajevo School of Science and Technology earlier this year asked BIRN BiH to collect data for an upcoming London exhibition by one of Bosnia's leading artists, Sejla Kameric.
The Ministry of European Integration has recently proposed a draft law on interception.
The 10 participants for this year’s Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence have been chosen.
BIRN's film 'The Majority Starts Here' was shown at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at University College London on Tuesday.
Jeta Xharra, country director of BIRN Kosovo, was invited to the morning programme of Klan Kosova on Feb. 25 to discuss the 2014 programme for the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.
BIRN’s road-movie documentary ‘The Majority Starts Here’ had its British premiere on Monday at SEESOX (South East European Studies at Oxford), part of the European Studies Centre at the University of Oxford.
Muhamet Hajrullahu, managing editor of BIRN Kosovo, was invited to the morning programme of the national broadcaster, RTK, on February 27 to talk about the 2014 Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence.